Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/Working Groups/Advocacy

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Advocacy Working Group members at Wikimedia Summit 2019

Legal frameworks, legislation, public policy, activism, agenda setting


  • legal frameworks, public policies and agendas to define areas where active advocacy and political engagement supports our mission and our strategic direction;
  • build capacities to break down political barriers;
  • identify partners for political impact


Providing everyone in the world with access to free knowledge is a political act. Even though Wikimedia does not align with political parties, governments, or politicians, the decision to support freedom of knowledge and stand against censorship has “political” implications. These implications are greater in some countries than others. Our strategic direction goes even further and states that we will break down the political barriers preventing people from accessing and contributing to free knowledge.

In order to achieve this in line with our values and vision, we need to create a positive legal framework that supports and advances free knowledge. This would mean becoming a leading voice on issues that affect our movement and standing up for our values. To this end, we engage with other open knowledge players globally in areas of common interest and join forces to mobilize against threats to free knowledge.

To successfully advocate for free knowledge, we need to build political, legal, and activist capacities across the movement and cooperate on local, regional, and global levels. As political agendas and barriers differ from region to region, we need to constantly understand and evaluate the changing policy landscape and how it affects the Wikimedia movement. We need to explore areas of alignment and identify common priorities, as well as areas where we refrain from becoming active.

What does it take to make Wikimedia more influential in political and legal discussions in advancing free knowledge and access to knowledge in the world, on local, regional and global level?

Guiding Questions

These questions are not meant to be answered one-to-one but should help the group frame their own conversations and their consultations with movement stakeholders.

  • What policy areas do we want to prioritize on our way to becoming the essential infrastructure for free knowledge? Where do we have to align with the broader global movement?
  • What policy changes are necessary to achieve our strategic vision? What are areas where the movement has an opportunity to make change?
  • What is the most effective way to promote public policy that advances our goals? What kind of legal, public policy and activist capacities do we need within movement organizations and communities, and how can we build them?
  • How do we bring awareness, support, and readiness to action to our community beyond the policy experts?
  • How will the open knowledge movement support the growing need for legal work around the globe in defense of free speech, access to information, and open knowledge? Who is part of this movement and who are the partners we need to engage with to further our mission?
  • How will the broader open knowledge movement organize itself to better reach and inform policymakers, legal advocates, and other stakeholders in matters related to the future of the open internet?
  • How can Wikimedia use its considerable visibility and influence to work with other open internet and open knowledge allies to advocate for press freedom, free speech, universal internet access, and other policy goals that will ensure the free flow of information?

Mailing list



Name Organization / project Role Geography
Allison Davenport Wikimedia Foundation Staff member North America
Alice Wiegand Volunteer Central Europe
Anass Sedrati Wikimedia Morocco User Group Board member North Africa, Western Europe, Northern Europe
Anna Mazgal Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU Staff member Western Europe, Central and Eastern Europe
Isla Haddow-Flood Wiki In Africa / WikiAfrica Board member South Africa
Jimmy Wales Wikimedia Foundation Board member North America
Mohsen Salek Iranian Wikimedians User Group Volunteer South Asia

Reports and documents


Please take a look at the draft recommendations (September 2019):

  1. Transparency: A global network of Wikimedia advocates is built on community driven rules of engagement. Processes for decision making are known and comprehensible. There are established entry points for those who want to be involved or want to initiate advocacy activities
  2. Diversity: Community actively seeks and provides a good environment and tailored pathways that attracts more people from a variety and diversity of languages and cultural backgrounds to engage in advocacy for Wikimedia on a local or global level
  3. Global conversation: There is an established communication process for community advocates to have central conversations about advocacy
  4. Knowledge management: There is constant knowledge management about methods, cases, success stories, and failures for all advocates to access and learn from, processed and maintained by, with and for them
  5. Advocacy Hub: Movement advocacy efforts are streamlined and reinforced by a hub run with and for current and future advocates
  6. Common positioning: The advocacy priorities of the Wikimedia movement are clearly articulated through a shared, highly visible and living document
  7. Partnerships: Advocates for the Wikimedia movement are able to collaborate with and build upon an existing global network of partners working on aligned advocacy issues
  8. Empowerment of advocates: Advocacy is recognized and encouraged as a valid pathway in the Wikimedia Movement
  9. Self-Determination: Subsidiary decentralisation should be a model of collaboration for advocacy across the movement
  10. Protection of Advocates: Advocates have access to clearly defined and accessible safety measures enabling them to work without having their personal and communal security compromised

First draft recommendations are available as well (August 2019).

There is also an abbreviated, translated version prepared for easier engagement.

Scoping document

Activities and reports

Wikimedia Conference Working Group Report (2018)

This is an overview of the outputs from the discussion about Advocacy at the Wikimedia Conference 2018. The group discussed: 1. What the scope of this thematic area should be; 2. Who should be in the Working Group; 3. How the Working Group should work.

Focus of the conversation

The advocacy group at the Wikimedia Conference 2018 agreed that:

  • Wikimedia should be more [openly] political
  • There is a need to develop greater policy expertise in the movement
  • Partnerships and alliances are essential
What? Who? How?

Many of the questions raised related to:

  • To what extent do we need alignment with our mission in how we do advocacy?
  • How do we ensure that our advocacy efforts are aligned with our mission
  • How do we align as a movement on what we advocate for
  • What policy areas do we prioritize?
  • What can be the role of the volunteer community in advocacy?
  • How can we build advocacy coalitions within and outside of the movement?
  • The working group itself:
    • Diverse representation (new voices, gender, etc.)
    • Global community representation (to understand differing contexts)
    • Policy experts in the movement
    • Movement activists involved in key policy areas
  • Others that could contribute:
    • WMF Management and Board of Trustees
    • Juridical experts
    • Current partners, Lobbying experts
  • Identifying our current policy lines - what have we committed to?
  • Create understanding of potential policy areas for development (context: strategic direction)
  • Experts as well as the wider community need to be involved
  • There should be similar decision-making process for all tracks to make it easier for the community to engage with the process

If you would like to know more details about the Working Group discussions on this theme, please consult the documentation.


Existing materials

This is a non-exhaustive list. Please add more sources that provide context, background information and insights related to the thematic area.